At Molokai's Parade of Lights, Christmas exuberance is expressed in delightfully unexpected ways. One year, a float featured a whole pig cooking on a rotisserie. Another year, spectators oohed and aahed at the menagerie on an entry.
When most people travel, they buy mugs, postcards and T-shirts for souvenirs. Lauren Rusert comes home with honey. More than 40 jars and bottles of the sweetener are lined up on a shelf in her kitchen.
The earliest memory Betsy Forrest Robb has of being in an art museum is lying on her stomach, painting during a class in the Impressionist gallery of the John Herron Art Institute (now the Indianapolis Museum of Art).
The 100-square-foot lanai of Ruby Makuch's home in Kihei, Maui, doubles as the factory for exfolicare, the soap-making company that she founded six years ago. "You need to be in a well-ventilated area when you're working with lye," she said.
"The adventure begins where the asphalt ends" is how Princeville Ranch Adventures (PRA) promotes its two new off-road tours. Karin Carswell Guest, who owns the company with her husband, Jeff, found that was indeed the case in February.
The tale of the $20,000 orchid begins in Thailand. On a visit there in 1984 to find new species for his family's nursery on Hawaii island, Moriyasu Akatsuka purchased plants that had been harvested from the wild. It took three years for him to nurse them to optimal health.
In a sense, Jeff Gere has been a storyteller most of his life. Encouraged by his mother, who was a high school drama teacher, he performed in numerous school musicals and skits at community events when he was growing up as a "beach kid" in Southern California.
For 20 years, Una Greenaway was a weekend farmer who looked forward to being outdoors at Kuaiwi Farm, her property in Captain Cook on Hawaii island, when she wasn't working a full-time job as an accountant for two nonprofit organizations.
Some come for the incredible views. Others love the peace and privacy. Still others praise the breakfasts, always prepared from scratch with ingredients growing just steps from the kitchen. Holualoa Inn is among Hawaii's most memorable escapes.
The F-20 Tigershark fighter soars across a cloudless blue sky at full throttle, makes a hard left turn and descends for a smooth low pass 5 yards from where Duke Chung is standing. "Looks pretty good," says the 48-year-old pilot.
When something piques Laryssa Kwoczak's interest, she makes a beeline for it. So it was in the fall of 2010 when she attended a festival for an urban farm in Philadelphia that had hives on the roof of a garage.
"How do you like my office?" Edwin Otsuji asks as visitors admire a panorama that stretches from Diamond Head to Maunalua Bay. "Beautiful, yeah? That's why vegetables grow so well here; they love the view."
Psssst … wanna know a secret? The Mauian is one of the best options for a laid-back, low-key Hawaii getaway. Although the 44-room hotel was one of the first to be built on the shores of Napili Bay, it has remained pretty much under the radar.
Six days a week Guy Tamashiro, vice president of Tamashiro Market, rises at 4:30 a.m. to make it to Pier 38 in time for the start of the Honolulu Fish Auction. Tamashiro has been the head fish buyer for his family's business for 40 years, and he knows the routine well.
There was a time when people went to gas stations to, well, buy gas. These days, their car's tank might be full, but they're pulling up near the pumps anyway to pick up everything from glue to games to great local food at on-site convenience stores.
On a visit to Hawaii island in early 2002, Greg Colden and his partner, Marty Corrigan, went on a six-hour snorkeling excursion. It was a cloudy day, and, not knowing he would be exposed to ultraviolet rays even though he wasn't in direct sunlight, Colden didn't apply sunscreen or wear a rash guard or T-shirt.
Few people talk about their workplace with as much pride and passion as Kauai County Council Chairman Jay Furfaro. The Historic County Building houses the offices of the seven-member Kauai County Council, the county clerk and the Kauai Historical Society.
Anyone who was born and raised in Hawaii might find it hard to imagine that Dotty Kelly-Paddock didn't see an ocean until she was 19 years old. "I grew up in Indiana, where there was lots of corn but no ocean," said the longtime Hauula resident.
EVERY so often, in the midst of his busy workday, Clifford Naeole receives a "call from my gut" that directs him to a place of peace and tranquility: the Honokahua Preservation Site on the grounds of The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua.
With that brief introduction, Michael Gilbert sums up his Outdoor Photography: Light, Composition & Gesture class: The key to photography is not mastering sophisticated equipment; it's being aware of your surroundings and responding to them.
Karen Lockwood met her husband, Andrew, in 1995, when they were students at Amherst College in Massachusetts. He was from Hawaii; she was from California. Both were new to New England and wanted to explore it together.
Maile Meyer grew up during the 1960s and 1970s — a time, as she puts it, when "a good Hawaiian was someone who wanted to be American. It was very difficult to find opportunities to study Hawaiian culture and history in school. Kupuna (elders) had the knowledge [...]"
Green is not only Holly Algood's favorite color, it's her way of life. She and her business and life partner, Eila Algood, live off the grid in rural Hawi on Hawaii island, creating their own energy with wind and solar.
It doesn't have an ocean view, there's not a palm tree in sight and instead of swimsuits, guests are likely to be dressed in sweaters. Still, Volcano House, just a quarter-mile past the entrance to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, is one of the most talked-about hotels in Hawaii.
When staffers at the restored 19th-century sugar plantation were brainstorming ideas for a benefit, they recalled the good times they always had at carnivals. They thought the museum's expansive front lawn would be the perfect setting for an old-fashioned fair.
Ted Clement's first job after graduating from college in 1991 was working as an environmental educator for the Outward Bound School in Maine. A longtime outdoor enthusiast with a Bachelor of Science degree, he led high school and college students on expeditions ranging from about three weeks to three months.
At Travaasa Hana guests can have their cake and eat it, too. On one hand, the rural hamlet of Hana provides the perfect setting for a low-key, laid-back escape. On the other, they can enjoy all the amenities of a luxury resort, from fine dining to a full-service spa.
Memorable stories are shared every year at Whale Tales. The eighth annual event will feature presentations by world-renowned whale experts who will provide commentary and mingle with guests on two-hour cruises along the coast of West Maui.
Growing up in then-sleepy Kona in the '60 and early '70s, Marcia Timboy was immersed in the best of Hawaiian music. Timboy is the coordinator for HMH's second annual Ke Ala o ka Hua Mele, which explores the evolution of Hawaiian music, from pre-contact Hawaii to today.
As a student of kumu hula Keala Ching, Julie Lyle has learned Hawaiian history, values and practical skills such as making implements, costumes and adornments from bamboo, ti leaves, bottle gourds and other natural materials.
Lincoln Jacobe believes discovering new things is the spice of life. "It makes life fun, interesting and exciting," said the chief executive officer of Hawaii Pacific Entertainment, a Honolulu-based media, communications and entertainment company.
When visitors enter the Hawaii Plantation Museum, they see a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling hodgepodge of things, which, at first glance, looks like the staging area for a giant garage sale. Wayne Subica sees treasures.
"THE QUEEN inspires me daily. To me, she is a model of grace, forgiveness, compassion and loyalty to her people — not just Hawaiians but everyone in her kingdom who respected the values and traditions of the Hawaiians. I am a royalist; I hold dual citizenship in my heart."
In the Hawaiian forest, birds converse in soft, sweet sonnets. Fronds bend and sway in response to the whispers of the wind. The sound of gently falling rain soothes the soul like a lullaby. Here, amid the peace and verdant finery of nature, Volcano Village Lodge lures guests away from the hubbub of everyday life.
When Abby Stankiewicz turned 10, she received riding lessons at a small equestrian center in her hometown of Cincinnati. "The first time I got on a horse, I was hooked," said the 24-year-old Wahiawa resident, who has trained with Olympic equestrians.
Chisels on linoleum, hands on potter's wheels, paintbrushes on canvases — stop by the Donkey Mill Art Center on any given day and you'll see creativity percolating along with an ever-present pot of Kona coffee.
While he was on abusiness trip to Newport Beach in late 2008, Bill Countryman, general manager of the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, heard about a promotion that the city's restaurant association was sponsoring to showcase its wide range of dining options.
Sandi Alstrand's introduction to lilikoi was love at first bite. Before she and her husband moved to Hawaii island from the San Francisco Bay Area in 2002, they vacationed there for two weeks to confirm they wanted to make that big of a lifestyle change.
In 1990, when Lynn Muramoto and her husband first came to the 32-acre site in Lawai Valley that is now the Lawai International Center, it was so overgrown, they had to use chain saws to cut a path so they could drive in. It took more clearing of thick jungle for them to catch a glimpse of the 88 shrines lining a winding path on the hill above them.
Last year, as Kani Blackwell was thanking students and teachers for attending the School Outreach Program that the Kauai Powwow Council presents annually at Lydgate Beach Park, she felt a tug at her sleeve.
In ancient times, dryland forests blanketed the leeward sides of all the Hawaiian Islands, from mountain slopes to the coasts. The forests were home to hundreds of species of native birds, insects, trees, shrubs, ferns and herbaceous plants — many of which couldn't be found anywhere else in the world.
For me, hula has always been … " There's no need for Hokulani Holt to say anything else. Those few simple but powerful words clearly communicate the important role the Hawaiian dance has played in her life.
Jeff Bagshaw's first visit to Haleakala National Park was a "light bulb experience." On that 1988 hiking and camping trip with his college group from Washington state, he saw more endangered wildlife in three days than he had in months on the mainland.
As a child, Troy Keolanui spent many summers with his maternal grandparents in rural Boring, Ore., 20 miles from Portland. One of his favorite pastimes was picking blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries at neighboring farms.
Home of Maui's alii, capital of the Hawaiian kingdom, rest stop for whaling ships, missionary headquarters, plantation town, popular visitor destination — "there are so many layers to Lahaina's story, from ancient times to the present," said Theo Morrison, executive director of the nonprofit Lahaina Restoration Foundation.
IT WAS like flying on the ocean! You felt the sun, wind and salt spray on your face. Everyone was in sync — like we were moving as one body." Eleven years have passed since Isaac Lau raced with his Hawaii Dragon Boat Festival team, but he can describe it as clearly as if it were yesterday.
On their first trip to Lanai in November 2008, Lisa Grove and her husband, Stephen, knew they had found home. Avid outdoorsmen, they spent five days hiking, biking, snorkeling and swimming in quiet, beautiful spots they often had all to themselves. It was the perfect playground.
Tim Lara's love affair with the ocean began 30 years ago, when he was in elementary school in Key West, Fla. "The ocean was my family's playground," recalled the owner and operations manager of Maui-based Hawaiian Paddle Sports.
Alesia Cloutier heads a company that offers two Oahu walking tours revolving around food. Launched in September, the three-hour Kailua Food Tour is set in the scenic suburb where she was born and raised.
When Shay Smith's family gets together, no matter whose house the party is at, the busiest spot is the bar. "Everyone bring ingredients and plays mixologist," Smith said. "We all try and outdo each other. In fact, that's how most of the recipes for Ocean Vodka's specialty cocktails came to be."
As a college student in Reno, Nev., 20 years ago, Amanda Kaahanui knew she loved nature and wanted to help protect it. Through a part-time volunteer job, she realized she didn't have to earn a Ph.D. in environmental science or go on expeditions in remote regions to do that.
A decade ago Brian Ross read a magazine article that described Allerton and McBryde gardens as a "living encyclopedia" of tropical plants and trees from around the world, many of them rare and endangered.
When Marilyn Jansen Lopes and her husband, Ricky, bought a used eight-passenger van at an auction in 2009, they intended to use it as an RV for camping and cruising. Little did they know it would inspire a business that draws people from all over the world.
When Xorin Balbes first saw the century-old Fred C. Baldwin Memorial Home in 2010, it exuded the sadness and despair of a neglected elder. Termites and dry rot had badly damaged its five wooden buildings. Its plumbing and septic tanks were corroding, and there were only a few trees on its 6-acre Upcountry Maui site.
Mike Dailey has broken his collarbone and a foot playing polo. He's also cracked and bruised a few ribs, has had wounds that required stitches and has suffered four concussions, one of which left him in a coma for five days.
One of the leaders in Hawaii's coffee industry didn't drink his first cup of java until he was 40 years old. In 1993, Waiele Drilling, a for-profit subsidiary of Bishop Estate (now Kamehameha Schools), lured Bateman, a mechanical engineer, from Newport Beach, Calif., to Hawaii island.
Suspension bridges. Aerial walkways. Rivers and rain forests bordered by a 2,500-foot-high mountain range. The setting for Outfitters Kauai's Zipline Trek Nui Nui Loa seems like it was pulled from "Swiss Family Robinson"; it's a spectacular playground for adventurers.
On the last day of the 2012 Celebration of the Arts, Clifford Naeole stood quietly watching the activity at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua's front desk. Checking in were new arrivals who had no idea they had just missed one of Hawaii's premier cultural events.
Tomas Havranek's introduction to the Segway PT (Personal Transporter) seven years ago was love at first glide. "When my wife, Andrea, and I first tried riding it at a park, we thought it was one of the coolest things we had ever done," he said.
In the waning hours of daylight, mist gently wraps around the forested hills of Ahualoa on Hawaii island like an ethereal shawl. Thus came the inspiration for the name of Carol Salisbury Culbertson's inn in that rural district above Honokaa town: Waianuhea, meaning "cool soft fragrance."
The elderly couple wasn't going to let age keep them from the most exciting adventure of their lives. They put on sturdy walking shoes, donned helmets and harnesses, and zipped for the first time with Skyline Eco-Adventures Akaka Falls on Hawaii island.
From October through February in olden Hawaii, war was kapu (forbidden), all work halted and the people's attention turned instead to games, sports, feasting, dancing and religious ceremonies honoring Lono, the god of agriculture.
On a sunny day, high atop a hill in North Kohala on Hawaii island, Christie Cash and her husband, Jay Nelson, surveyed a lot they were thinking of buying. They wound up being more taken with the 33-acre parcel next to it, which was once part of a large spread known as Puakea Ranch.
On New Year's Day 2010, while sailing off Kawaihae on Hawaii Island, Tania Howard and several friends spotted a humpback and her calf a quarter-mile away. Shutting off the Maile's engine, they decided to wait and see what the whales would do.
In the devastating aftermath of 9-11, Blake Kolona found himself struggling to keep his painting and contracting business afloat, eventually facing bankruptcy. Concerned about the future, he hiked deep into Makaha and discovered a new passion.
As a high school teen in Northern California, Ted Henry remembers walking down the aisles in the liquor section of neighborhood grocery stores, admiring the labels on wine bottles and reading all the information that was on them.
Felicita Garrido and her husband, Steven Bolosan, moved to Na Mea Kupono, their 6-acre Waialua farm, in 2008, and started offering educational visits two years later. In addition to taro, numerous other native and introduced plants thrive at Na Mea Kupono.